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Butte building company wants to help state’s affordable housing crisis

Hannah Van Wetter

BUTTE (KPAX) — A new company opening in Butte that creates small, factory-built homes hopes to be part of the solution to Montana’s growing affordable housing problem.

“We’re trying to bring something to market that isn’t there and create some housing equity for people that are being shut out of the housing market and out of the rental market right now,” said Foothold co-founder Hannah Van Wetter.

Foothold is a public-benefit corporation started in Bozeman and is opening in Butte’s Montana Connections Park this summer. It builds modular homes in six sizes from 600 square feet up to 1,800 square feet.

“We aim to create a product that uses less waste, so creating something that can really efficiently utilize all of your cuts of lumber is great. Saves you money,” said Van Wetter.

Butte Chief Executive J.P. Gallagher said Foothold will be a benefit to Butte in dealing with affordable housing. He plans to hold meetings in the near future to find more ways in dealing with this issue.

“We want to make sure that we’re addressing those needs ahead of time before that hits us and we’re playing catch-up, and I think we’re seeing that in Bozeman, they’re having to try and figure out how to address those housing needs,” said Gallagher.

The Butte Housing Authority said affordable housing is a major issue in Butte, with clients on their waiting list for up to 18 months.

“Success for us is making a tangible difference to Montanans and to people that live in Butte and to people that live in Deer Lodge and these sort of small communities and people are either not able to enter the housing market and buy their first home or they aren’t able to find a place to live at all,” said Van Wetter.